Food FYI

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In­ter­na­tional Chardon­nay Day this Thurs­day (May 24) might just be the ex­cuse you need to open that bot­tle or pro­vide the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to re­dis­cover a wine you have not tried for a while. Frankie Walker is the proud leader of the Lion Am­bas­sador Team which ed­u­cates and up­skills the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try in­struct­ing about wine va­ri­etals, craft beer and more. Here he gives us point­ers on how to serve the per­fect pour.

NOT TOO ICY

If chardon­nay is served too cold, it loses its creamy tex­ture and any ripe, fruit char­ac­ters. The per­fect tem­per­a­ture to serve un­oaked chardon­nay is 7-10C, while oaked chardon­nay is best served at 10-13C. Most peo­ple drink their chardon­nay too cold, so if you find chardon­nay too bit­ter or acidic, try let­ting

the bot­tle warm up at room tem­per­a­ture.

OAKED V UN­OAKED

The age-old ques­tion of oaked ver­sus un­oaked chardon­nay to­tally comes down to per­sonal taste pref­er­ences. If you like flavours of smoke, toast or warm spice, oaked chardon­nay will be your best friend. If you pre­fer fresh, cit­rusy, min­eral and el­e­gant wines, try an un­oaked chardon­nay. The Ch­ablis re­gion in France is fa­mous for th­ese.

IT’S A CHANGELING

The Chardon­nay grape is ex­tremely ver­sa­tile. It can grow in a range of cli­mates, and the ac­tual taste of the grape will change de­pend­ing on where in the world it is grown. In slightly warmer cli­mates, chardon­nay gives off nec­tarine, apri­cot and stone fruit char­ac­ters, while cooler cli­mates will yield flavours of green ap­ple and lime. Chardon­nay is also one of the three main grapes used in the pro­duc­tion of Cham­pagne.

WINE MATCH­ING

Try your chardon­nay matched to one of th­ese recipes from bite.co.nz COS LET­TUCE WITH GAR­LIC PRAWNS — choose un­oaked chardon­nay. It is a great match for fresh, seafood dishes. With­out oak, you al­low the true flavour of the chardon­nay grape to ex­press it­self. A great start­ing point would be a fresh, cit­rusy, un­oaked chardon­nay that comes from a cool re­gion (like Marl­bor­ough or Ch­ablis). If you are look­ing for an un­oaked chardon­nay, I would rec­om­mend look­ing at the Ch­ablis re­gion in France — the creme de la crème.

TAR­RAGON CHICKEN, TRA­DI­TIONAL FISH PIE OR BAKED CAMEMBERT — choose an oaked chardon­nay. Rich, creamy dishes are a won­der­ful match for oaked chardon­nay. A wine will de­velop flavours of smoke, cin­na­mon, co­conut, and/or warm spice if it is al­lowed to age in oak. Bar­rel age­ing al­lows wines to breathe (the pores in oak give wine oxy­gen ex­po­sure) which can re­sult in a process called mal­o­lac­tic fer­men­ta­tion which gives a wine that beau­ti­ful creamy, but­tery taste. Creamy dishes com­ple­ment the creamy tex­ture of­ten found in oaked chardon­nay in­cred­i­bly well. If you’re look­ing for a great, rich, oaked chardon­nay, look for out Mart­in­bor­ough Vine­yards Chardon­nay or the Trin­ity Hill Gim­blett Grav­els Chardon­nay. Both are fan­tas­tic ex­am­ples.

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